AS the mountain biking community and environmentalists wait for a decision on whether a mountain bike trail centre will be pursued for the Mount Canobolas Conservation Area, one group of cyclists says they will not use it if it proceeds.
Peter West, Yvette Black and Patrick Driver said the use of the conservation area within the design did not sit well with a lot of people
The design created by World Trail would have 54 per cent of the trail centre within the conservation area and six hectares would have the be cleared.
“But a lot of people are saying it’s the best idea if it’s only in the plantation pine forests, which we know are degraded – if you limited it to the pine forest, all those opponents would become supporters,” Mr West said.
“You can build stuff [in pine forests] without destroying it,” Ms Black said.
The trio echoed the Central West Environment Council, the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO) and the Orange Field Naturalist and Conservation Society with concerns linkages for threatened plant and animal species could be severed.
Ms Black said trail bikes could make the damage worse.
“Trail bikes do a lot of damage to the trails at Kinross [State Forest] and I’d hate to think what damage they would do to the tracks in the conservation area,” she said.
The Central Western Daily ran a poll asking readers whether they supported mountain bikes in the conservation area.
Of the 917 votes, 88 per cent said yes, 11 per cent said no and 1.5 per cent were unsure.
The proposal was the brainchild of the Central West Off-Road Bicycle Club.
Club vice-president Rodney Farrell said the organisation was prepared to keep the conversation going and trail centres had been safely set up in heritage areas in the past.
“We want to go hand in hand with the environmental concerns with whatever we find up there, it’s not a case of them or us,” he said.
Orange City Council was to debate and vote on whether to write to NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman to alter the mountain’s plan of management last Tuesday, but the meeting fell short of a quorum when councillor Ash Brown had to declare a conflict of interest due to a property valuation.
It will brought to a future meeting.